How to Delegate Task as a Product Designer

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We do not have all the time in the world to do all that needs to be done as product designers. There’s a lot to be done ranging from meetings, gathering project requirements, creating sketches, creating actual designs, and reviewing work done, among others. At the beginning of your career, you can do all these and many more yourself.

However, as your business grows, it becomes difficult for you to do all these yourself and that’s where task delegation comes in. It helps you concentrate on an aspect of your job while you assign the remaining aspects to someone else. While some people have had success delegating their work to someone else, others have been burnt. At Plant, we believe in task delegation and do it a lot. Discussed below is a comprehensive guide on how to delegate a task and make sure they are done as a product designer.

The first step to task delegation is to prepare your mind for it. The number one reason people avoid delegating work is that they fear the person they are delegating the work to won’t do it to their taste. For example, some designers have eyes that only see their own designs as good. It becomes difficult for such designers to delegate a task to others because they will feel the other person is incompetent.

However, the other person might not be incompetent; it is just a figment of their imagination. If they prepare their mind to let some part of their job go to someone else, they will later realize that some product designers (even junior ones) are as competent as they are. It is not uncommon to see junior designers outperform their senior counterparts. It is nothing new, but if you fail to delegate, you might never know.

After preparing your mind that task delegation will increase the productivity of your business, and you’ve decided to give it a try. The next thing to do is to decide what part of the job you’ll like to keep and what part you want to delegate. Usually, the part of the job that requires great skills would be yours except if you have a member of the team with such skills.

As part of deciding to delegate, resist the temptation of delegating a large chunk of your work at a time. The step needs to be gradual to avoid hurting your work. First, you can start by delegating the smaller tasks that aren’t skill intensive. You should start from there and move on to the high-end task in your job. If the change is gradual, you have the opportunity to quickly experiment and assess what’s working and what’s not, which is what you need to know before you take the backseat.

You cannot effectively delegate a task if you do not know the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. Task delegation is not done blindly, just as you know what you can accomplish and what you cannot do, you need to know your team members too. Each of them has what they are good at and have tasks they would naturally shy away from. Use these as a yardstick when delegating.

I know, this point seems obvious. However, it is less obvious than you think. In many design teams, the leader of the team would delegate work to the less busy team members or who they are more comfortable with. That’s a bad way to do it. It wouldn’t hurt if you explain to the busy one and get them to complete a task before going back to what he/she was doing. Delegating tasks based on free time is sure to backfire.

After deciding what task is most appropriate for each team member, the next thing you should have in mind is that you need to make things consistent. You do not have to be changing the task of a designer every now and then. Nobody likes; that includes me, the person writing this. Keeping things consistent will help strengthen the skills of each member on the task you delegate to them.

However, do not be afraid to teach your team members new skills. If there is a skill you require and nobody in the team have the skill set, the wisest thing to do is teach a member of your team how to do that. This way, you get to develop your team without necessarily employing someone else.

You need to instruct every member of the team on everything they are expected to do and accomplish, and that includes submission deadlines and milestone. Without properly defining each team members job, you cannot hold them accountable for work not done, and if you do, you’re unfair. Define instructions and make sure they follow it judiciously.

With the job description, trust your team members to accomplish the task. Without trust, there’s no need to delegate because you wouldn’t like the outcome. However, do not trust them blindly. You shouldn’t delegate work and go back to sleep. You need to set in place some verification mechanism to see if your expectations are being met. Things like asking each member what they have done will keep them on their toes.

As you delegate part of your work, you will get to know what’s working and what’s not working. Use the result you get in fine-tuning your decision so that the team will be more efficient. If there’s any need to swap task, please do. If you feel your team members need training, then train them. Feedbacks can help your team improve your productivity if used wisely.

You can directly ask your team members how they feel about the work you gave to them and hear what they have to say. Listen carefully and have good listening skills to know what they are saying because you’re around and what they really meant.

To delegate your task effectively, there are some software tools that are needed to enable you to collaborate and communicate as a team, manage projects, collaborate on designs, and keep track of each change and who made them. Trust me; your team will be inefficient and waste a lot of time if your team members keep moving from one desk to another to submit work or show another member of the team his/her work.

However, if they use a version control system like Plant, they can keep track of changes they made to their Sketch files and who made those changes. To communicate effectively, Slack is the tool of choice for collaborative communication which can also integrate with Plant, and all of the tasks can be managed effectively using Asana, Trello or other similar task management tools.

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